Thank you Chris McClellan and Susan Cheung for your responses last week on Flor!
This week: Henri Jayer
Who is Henri Jayer and what was his impact on Burgundy?
Burgundy winemaker who was an avid proponent of de-stemming
Jayer also was a pioneer of "cold soak" macerations before alcoholic fermentation. Because alcohol has a profound effect on what types of compounds are extracted from the skins during maceration, this use of an extended maceration without alcohol produces a markedly different aromatic and textural profile in the finished wine. Many producers of Pinot Noir in Burgundy use this technique now after Jayer made it famous.
In addition to cold soak maceration, he is frequently credited with pioneering the idea that great wines begin in the vineyard. He sought to limit the use of chemicals and instead advocated plowing to control weeds, and was notably strict regarding yields. In an interview shortly before his death, he stated, "I prune ruthlessly short. There is no substitute for low yields." Jayer did not make wine in bad years.
The Independent noted in their obituary that Jayer's rise coincided with a backlash against the notion of producing clean, filtered wines at the expense of authentic, earthy wines that threw natural sediment into the bottle. His wines are celebrated for their elegance and balance in addition to their lushness and concentration.
Among his accomplishments, Jayer re-established Vosnee-Romanee Cros Parantoux after the land and gone back to mostly scrub used to grow Jerusalem artichokes following the phylloxera epidemic. He purchased the plot in the 50s and bottled it as a separate vineyard in 1978, never producing more than 300 cases annually from that location.